A Bloody Christmas in the Holy Land - The AM Quickie 12/25/23

Rudy Giuliani is now officially bankrupt. Merry Christmas! -Jacob

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Israel Expands Gaza Offensive

Despite widespread calls for a ceasefire – except from the United States of America, Israel's essential ally – the IDF has expanded its military campaign in Gaza, which has killed more than 20,000 people. The Israeli government has said that it may be fighting in southern Gaza for months. Whole extended Palestinian families are being wiped out in air strikes as hunger has become endemic.

In Bethlehem, Christmas celebrations, which are normally filled with music and joyous public events, have been tamped down. Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, led a quiet procession while wearing a keffiyeh. “We have to stop the bombing,” Pizzaballa said. “To bring people back to normal life. I can’t say back to their homes, because they have no homes to go back to.”

In the center of Bethlehem, a normally festive Christmas scene was replaced with what the Washington Post called "a somber crèche — with gray ghostly figures representing the holy family, surrounded by barbed wire and strewn rubble, with a baby wrapped in a white shroud."

"If you are not appalled by what is happening in Gaza, if you are not shaken to your core, there is something wrong with your humanity," said Rev. Munther Isaac, an evangelical Lutheran pastor in Bethlehem, in a public sermon.

The messaged was echoed by other Christian leaders, including Pope Francis. "Tonight, our hearts are in Bethlehem, where the Prince of Peace is once more rejected by the futile logic of war, by the clash of arms that even today prevents him from finding room in the world," Francis said.

Donald Trump Expects Immunity

Former president Donald Trump has asked the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to throw out a lower court ruling that rejected his argument for legal immunity. Trump's legal team has claimed that, rather than trying to meddle with election results, Trump was trying to ensure the "integrity" of the election. They've also put forth some other legalistic and constitutional arguments that essentially boil down to that old Nixonian canard: When the president does it, that means it's not illegal. Whatever the federal appeals court decides, the issue could end up before the Supreme Court. And even then, all this legal wrangling will be far from over. The actual criminal trial is set to begin on March 4.

Yet Another Tesla Recall

After recalling more than two millions cars last week over concerns about deadly accidents with its self-driving software, Tesla has already issued another recall. This time, the issue concerns 120,000 vehicles whose doors might open during a crash. As for the previous autopilot recall, some experts warn that Tesla's proposed fix may not even work.


  • Rising Number of Threats to Public Officials In an interview Sunday, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said that her office was observing an "unprecedented rise" in violent threats against government officials, from judges to FBI agents to presidential candidates. Monaco called Donald Trump's fascist, anti-government rhetoric "not helpful." via Politico.
  • DeSantis Campaign on Its Last Legs Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has long been the clear – but very distant and pretty unlikeable – number two to Republican frontrunner Donald Trump. Now, as DeSantis' campaign stumbles toward failure in next month's Iowa Caucus, the post-mortems are already coming in. via New York Times.
  • Where's the Snow? Holiday travel has seen some of the usual logistical snafus and pileups – Thursday should be the busiest day for flyers – but besides a midwestern blizzard, most Americans are unlikely to see much snow this week. So long to the white Christmas. via Axios.
  • Labor Strikes Continue Through Holidays A banner year of labor activism continues, with Minnesota grocery workers striking and California State University lecturers walking off the job in protest of low pay. via CBS News and Los Angeles Times.



That's how many news items were "completely censored or partially censored" by Israel's military censor, according to an analyst consulted by The Intercept. The country's military censor has stepped up its operations in recent months, releasing a memo listing eight subjects that journalists are forbidden from reporting on. The missive also asks journalists to submit all IDF-related materials to the censor for review. It's not just Israeli journalists: under terms dictated by the IDF, a number of foreign outlets, including American ones like CNN, are submitting stories to Israeli authorities before they're published.


12/25: Merry Christmas! The MR Crew is off today.


The 'War On Christmas' Has Always Been Very Stupid

Let's take a trip back to 2005, when an intrepid radio host took the war on Christmas to Fox News.

Netanyahu Will Never Let This End

With his political fate tied to the current war and President Biden refusing to call for a ceasefire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shows no desire to let up in Gaza (or the West Bank, or southern Lebanon, or Syria).


First of all, I know nothing about Hitler. I’m not a student of Hitler. I never read his works. They say that he said something about blood. He didn’t say it the way I said it, either, by the way, It’s a very different kind of a statement. What I’m saying when I talk about people coming into our country is they are destroying our country.

-- Donald Trump speaking in a radio interview with host Hugh Hewitt. Trump has recently employed blood-and-soil-style rhetoric, demonizing immigrants as deadly pathogens, in what many have described as a clear echo of Nazi language. Trump, who reportedly once kept a copy of Hitler's speeches next to his bed, claimed he has never read "Mein Kampf."

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